There are many reasons why individuals and their families may wish to consider the visa and passport options available from other countries. Increased ease of travel is often a prime motive. Alternatively individuals and their families may wish to start a new life elsewhere or want the reassurance of being able to move to another jurisdiction, at short notice, if circumstances within their own country change.
A number of countries around the world offer attractive visa residence schemes, some of which provide the additional advantage of a passport.
Dixcart Domiciles Limited
Dixcart has established Dixcart Domiciles Limited to advise individuals on the available residence schemes and to recommend which solution might best meet an individual's particular needs. We can provide advice on, and assist with, relocation to: Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta, Portugal, St Kitts & Nevis, Switzerland and the UK.
This Information Note examines the Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme and St Kitts & Nevis Economic Citizenship in more detail. Both schemes offer interesting visa and residence opportunities as well as a passport.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme
One of the main advantages provided by the Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme is that non-EU individuals can obtain the right to reside in Portugal and the right to travel within the Schengen Zone for a period of 5 years. Under current regulations this can lead to permanent residence and then to Portuguese citizenship and the right to a Portuguese passport.
Please note that individuals do not have to reside in Portugal to take advantage of the scheme.
In order to qualify for a Golden Visa an individual must meet, and maintain for at least 5 years, one of the following investment criteria:
- Acquisition of real estate with a value of at least €500,000.
- Investment of at least €1 million in Portugal (deposit in a bank account, or shares or quotas in a company or companies).
- Creation of at least 10 jobs (temporary work contracts are eligible and the worker does not have to live in Portugal as long as social security is paid there).
New rules, introduced in July 2015, extend the choice of investments available to apply for a Golden Visa:
- Investment of a minimum €350,000 in a project relating to cultural or scientific research; OR
- The purchase of a property built at least 30 years ago or located in an area designated for urban renewal. The property, including the costs of rebuilding and/or renewal, must equal a minimum €350,000; OR
- Investment of a minimum €250,000 to support artistic productions and/or national heritage projects organised through the central or local Portuguese authorities; OR
- Investment of a minimum €500,000 to purchase shares in investment funds or venture capital companies that are being used to support small and/or medium sized companies in Portugal that have generated viable business development plans.
In addition, individuals investing in a region with a low population density (less than 100 habitants per km2) or with a GDP 75% or less than the national average benefit from a 20% reduction in the specified investment criteria. The two exceptions are the capital transfer of at least €1,000,000 to a Portuguese bank account or a Portuguese company and the investment of a minimum €500,000 to purchase shares in investment funds or venture capital which is being used to support small and/or medium size companies.
Minimum Stay Requirement
The minimum stay requirement is only 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent 2 year periods. This means that an individual does not have to be tax resident in Portugal. If an individual does wish to become tax resident in Portugal, a favourable tax regime exists.
- Once an individual has been resident in Portugal for 5 years he can apply for permanent residence.
Citizenship and a Portuguese Passport
- Under current regulations, once an individual has obtained permanent residence, has been resident in Portugal for 6 years and passes a simple Portuguese language test, he can apply for citizenship and a Portuguese passport. A Portuguese passport is a full EU passport, which means that the passport holder can travel freely and reside anywhere in the EU.
Presentation of the residence visas in a passport obtained during the 5 years of participation in the Golden Visa Scheme is considered adequate evidence of residence to obtain permanent residence and then citizenship in Portugal.
The St Kitts & Nevis Economic Citizenship Programme
The St Kitts & Nevis Economic Citizenship Programme is one of the oldest and most respected citizenship programmes in the world. One of the main advantages is that individuals can obtain a St Kitts & Nevis passport which has full Schengen travel rights throughout Europe and there is no visa requirement for a short visit to the UK.
The St Kitts & Nevis passport is provided as soon as an application has been successfully made and the applicant does not necessarily have had to visit St Kitts & Nevis.
Only Licensed Agents can make an application to the St Kitts & Nevis Government. Dixcart Management Nevis Limited is a Licensed Agent and is approved under the Citizenship by Investment Programme to assist clients seeking to relocate to St Kitts & Nevis.
There are two alternative routes to St Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment:
- Option 1 – Approved property development:
Investment of a minimum US$400,000 per main applicant in an approved property development area.
- Option 2 – Donation to the Sugar Diversification Foundation:
An individual can contribute US$250,000 for a single applicant, to the Sugar Diversification Foundation (SDF). This increases up to US$450,000 for seven dependants.
Dixcart provides a comprehensive range of services to assist individuals and families seeking to move to another location. Our services include:
- A detailed understanding and advice on the various residence schemes, the obligations to be met and the advantages of each scheme.
- Staff located in each of the countries, able to provide detailed information about that particular country, the lifestyle, tax regime etc.
- Assistance with the residence/passport application process.
- Assistance in organising a visit to the selected country.
- Close links with property developers to make the search for the right property as simple as possible.
- A full range of individual and professional commercial services once relocation has taken place. Such services can include personal tax advice and a full range of professional services in relation to establishing a business in the particular jurisdiction.
- Other locations: Dixcart Domiciles can provide assistance regarding other appropriate locations that it might be of interest to relocate to. These would include for example: Malta, Switzerland and the UK.
- Family office services.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.